Ghaf | Prosopis cineraria

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Prosopis cineraria, locally known as khejri, has an important place in the economy of the Indian desert. In the arid zone of Rajasthan,

Prosopis cineraria, known as Shami, Khejri Tree, or Ghaf, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is native to arid portions of Western Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, India, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. It is an established introduced species in parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.[1]  It is the state tree of Rajasthan, where it is known as Khejri, and Telangana in India. A large and well-known example of the species is the Tree of Life in Bahrain – approximately 400 years old and growing in a desert devoid of any obvious sources of water.

 camels, goats, donkeys and mules, which make up about 40% of the 19 million head of livestock in the region, depend on browsing to meet their nutrient requirements.

Khejri is well adapted to the very dry conditions      in India and is found in zones with annual rainfall ranging from  150-500  mm;  the  optimum  density is seen between 350-400 mm range. This plant produces leaves, flowers and fruit during the extreme dry months (March-June) when all other species adapted to arid zones are leafless and dormant. It is the characteristic which deserves greatest  attention

 
  

 

Ghaf | Prosopis cineraria

 

as the tree offers a new forage resource for extreme arid zones. Khejri is a slow growing   tree in its early stages, requiring 10-15 yrs to develop a height of 6 m, compared to 12-15   m in 4-5 yrs for Prosopis juliflora  (Vilayti babool). An average tree yields 25-30 kg of dry  leaf forage per year.

Nutritional value

Khejri trees are ready to provide animal feed from the 10th year onwards and, if properly managed, may be kept in production for 2 centuries. Leaves contain 15% crude protein and 15-20% crude fibre. Calcium and phosphorus contents are 1.92% and 0.18%, respectively. Total digestible nutrients are 40%.